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Do Interventions Work?

by Cristina Villalon

Do Interventions Work?

The popular and long-running docu-series, Intervention, has brought much-needed attention to the vast number of people in America who are suffering from untreated substance use disorder. Each episode is based around individuals grappling with their addiction as their loved ones desperately attempt to get them the help they need by staging an intervention. While the show has helped many people affected by substance use disorder (and educate even more who knew very little about the disease), the scenes shown during the interventions have also caused some misunderstandings surrounding the method of approach.

Interventions are effective when staged correctly. Confrontational and instigative interventions rarely work out for either party involved because they lack tact and understanding for the individual walking into them. Adhering to some basic guidelines when staging an intervention can increase the chances of success exponentially.


Attendees should be decided on at the start of planning, making sure to keep the group small and intimate, without the presence of inflammatory or emotionally triggering people. Each person should be informed that they have about five minutes to give their speech to the person in focus. Anything longer or more involved can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Boundaries and ultimatums should be mentioned in these speeches, especially those who feel that they’re enablers or in a codependent relationship with the person needing help. Those attendees must also be prepared to act on their conditional statements should the person in question decide to reject treatment.


Once the attendees are chosen, it’s time to decide whether to use the services of an experienced professional interventionist and where to hold the event. When reaching out to an experienced interventionist, they can usually help secure a neutral and safe location to have the intervention while also helping the other group members organize most effectively. Hosting the affair at a loved one’s house is often a bad idea because it can induce reactive angry behavior, especially if they feel that it’s happening in their “safe space” or familiar territory.


Keeping the intervention a secret is crucial. If the person in question has time to prepare, they will arrive with a long list of excuses and strategies to avoid the seriousness of the discussion. It’s essential to keep the person’s routine schedule in mind, if applicable, and go forth with an invitation to meet as the family or support group would regularly avoid raising suspicion. Once discussion about the intervention has begun, the attendees should look to make it happen as quickly as possible. It’s very easy to lose the sense of urgency while preparing for the event if the focus is diverted too intensely on small details.

Give the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Health Care Resource Centers a call today to organize treatment details for a loved one’s upcoming intervention. The latest data suggests that, when executed properly, interventions result in a 90% rate of people entering treatment. Our experienced medical providers are prepared to provide an individualized plan for someone looking to treat their substance use disorder using evidence-based methods and FDA-approved medications to get them on the road to long-lasting recovery.



Medically Reviewed By:

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at Health Care Resource Centers is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. HCRC is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing addiction treatment services for over 32 years in the New England area.

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